I was a sophomore at UT, prepping for consulting and iBanking internships when a friend compelled me to sit down for coffee with the CEO of a brand new startup in town. No one had heard of it. In fact, the company was still debating names at the time. When we left, I had struck a deal: I would be their new intern for a semester, and, if I hated it, he would write me a recommendation to every firm I wanted. I never looked back. The company, called Loku, was one of the first to process big data and tie social media, news, photos, and events to hyperlocal points of interest. Seven of us moved to San Francisco, worked out of a house together, and lived off of cold pizza, big dreams, and plenty of coffee. Eventually, we were acquired by Groupon. I went on to another startup, and, now, on my own — as a founder for the first time. I joined two talented friends (one was an old classmate at UT) and today we’re building a company called Nextvest. We are opening access to top-tier private equity co-investments for Wall Street professionals, family offices, and active investors.